Orange is the New Black has got an awesome and diverse cast, a Game of Thrones raunchiness in boy/girl flashbacks, lots of loved up girls in Litchfield woman’s prison, and ever shifting plotlines that keep viewers coming back for more. It’s based on a true story: Piper Kerman (Piper Chapman in the show) was a nice upper-middle class girl living in upstate New York, when all of a sudden the Feds came knocking. Seems ten years earlier, Piper had carried drug money for girlfriend Alex Vause. She was tried, convicted, and spent around a year in a minimum security prison. Her whole life, her relationship with friends, family and fiance, were totally messed up. And to make things even more complicated, Alex was at the same prison for a time. End of life as you know it? Well, maybe for a time. But when she got out she wrote a memoir telling the tale. Then it became a best seller; TV types start calling, and Orange is the New Black hit Netflix in 2013. She even got a gig writing some episodes.
Netflix hit gold with Orange is the New Black. The series is the site’s most watched original series ever. The fourth series has recently been released and the show has already been renewed for three more seasons. Here are 15 OITNB celebrities and their net worths. Plus, we’ll throw in a few little bits of gossip. Be warned: There are one or two season four spoilers.
15. Taylor Schilling – $600,000
Anybody who reads Huffington Post will know about those rumors of Taylor dating Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein. And everybody who watches the show remembers that kiss with Alex. Steamy and all. Taylor Schilling gets $35,000 per episode. So, at the moment, she’s a bargain. She has said that she is the one who always turns up in jeans. But maybe her jeans are getting just a little fancier these days. She got her start in a play in middle-school. And she’s hit it big as Piper Chapman on the Netflix kind of comedy, kind of drama. She’s even been nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Emmy. Her first film? Nothing to sneeze at. She starred with Meryl Streep in Dark Matter (2007). Her dad is a former prosecutor, so she knows a thing or two about that criminal world. We predict her acting and money fortunes will grow and grow.
14. Yael Stone – $1.5 Million
Yael Stone is an actress who has done lots of theater in her native Australia. Yet she has totally nailed the in your face Italian-American Lorna Morello. To do that, she had to work hard to get Lorna’s Italian-American accent right. It’s kind of Boston and kind of working class Brooklyn. Reportedly, Stone has based her performance on actress Natalie Wood. Morello channels that Jersey girl style, wearing totally red lipstick, using instant coffee as brown eye shadow, and styling her hair using toilet paper curlers. Well, a girl’s got to work with what she has to hand. Stone first auditioned for the role of Nicky Nichols, which went to Natasha Lyonne. As it happens, Lorna and Nicky are in a sexual relationship at the start of the show. Supposedly engaged to a guy, it turns out that Lorna stalked and terrorized the poor guy after one date. Don’t mess with the Italians.
13. Samira Wiley – $1.5 Million
Samira Wiley is good natured, funny Poussey Washington. This show has a lot of in your face females, including Poussey. She went from being a secondary character to a fan favorite, becoming a regular cast member during the third series. Wiley is openly lesbian and in a relationship with OITNB writer Lauren Morelli. Pretty early on in the series, it emerges that military brat Poussey’s backstory includes a steamy relationship with a German girl. The new series (fourth) sees her hooking up with another inmate, Soso, and (spoiler alert) being accidentally suffocated during a demonstration that went wrong. Best Poussey quote? “We all in here because we took a wrong turn going to church.” That’s one big, big understatement. We’ll miss her. Wiley, we know, will continue to build on her $1.5 million fortune.
12. Dascha Polanco – $1.5 Millio
Bad Latina Daya Diaz, like her mother, is in Litchfield Penitentiary for drug-related offenses. She’s the kind of girl who has sex with a prison officer in a janitor’s closet, becomes pregnant, and then seduces another prison officer and accuses him of r*pe. Believe it or not, the girl is quiet and shy. The scene with the gun pointed at a guard is the ultimate season four cliffhanger. Thirty-something Dominican-American Dascha Polanco, has some pretty strong words for designers who won’t dress her because of her “curves”. Seems, unlike some celebrities, the designers won’t lend her red carpet looks for publicity. Must be expensive. Dascha Polanco has come a long way pretty fast: She was in nursing school when she did a video audition for the show. She nailed it big time. Her fortunes will go from strength to strength.
11. Taryn Manning – $1.5 Million
At 37, Taryn Manning is a little older than some of the other cast members and has TV and movie credits aplenty, including a stunning turn as a prostitute in 2005’s Hustle and Flow. And she also earns money as is a talented singer-songwriter and a fashion designer. We know the one about art imitating life, but Manning was thrown in a holding cell for real after she was accused of violating a protection order by an ex-friend turned stalker. She was never tried and called in top attorney Stacey Richman, whose client list includes Jay Z and Lil Wayne. Her character Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett, is more than a little nuts, spends some time in a psych unit, and turns Christian while in jail. Either because of the psych unit or her faith, her initially violent character mellows as the series progresses. And the nickname? It comes from a region of Appalachia where she is from. Think country hillbilly.
10. Elizabeth Rodriguez – $2 Million
Our first multi-millionaire. Meet Daya’s mom, Aleida Diaz. Mother and daughter together again at good ole Litchfield Penitentiary. Aleida is the kind of woman who had five children from five different fathers. Plus, she was the kind of mom who left oldest Daya, in charge of the other four while she pursued her social life. Oh yeah, her boyfriend Cesar set up a drug lab in her apartment. That caused a whole lot of aggravation and brought the police to their door. Rodriguez is beyond good in the part of Aleida, Daya’s immature, selfish mom. She slaps her daughter when she arrives and it doesn’t get much better later on. As she says: “We’re family. We fight.” Elizabeth Rodriguez has also been in The Walking Dead companion show, Fear of the Walking Dead.
9. Laverne Cox – $2 Million
Transgender Laverne Cox, has her own wax figure at Madame Tussauds. Cox is a busy girl. The transgender actress, who is also a reality television star, a TV producer and LGBT advocate, is worth $2 million. And she’s a trailblazer, being the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. During her first season of OITNB, she was also appearing as a drag queen at a restaurant in New York. The girl is one hot dancer. She has a recurring role on OITNB as Sophia Burset, a trans woman who gets off on makeup and hair. Sophia was Marcus, a firefighter who got to Litchfield because of a spot of credit card fraud. Oh yeah, and Sophia has a son from when she was a he. And trust us, his baby mama is not happy. Cox recently did her burlesque thing at the 25th Annual Broadway Bares show in New York City, pasties and all.
8. Natasha Lyonne – $3 Million
In a former life, Natasha Lyonne was Jessica in the American Pie series. She’s had the odd run-in with the law, being arrested on a DUI charge and again for verbally threatening a neighbor. That last one cost her a night in jail. Did we mention the arrest warrant for failure to appear in court? On the show she plays Nicky Nichols, a loud, funny, down-to-earth lesbian type. She and another character have a contest to see which of them could have sex with the most inmates. Lyonne has joked that the role has resulted in a lot of attention from ladies and that she could clean up big time if she decided to “swing that way”. Being Lyonne could have its rewards over and above her $3 million worth.
7. Lori Petty – $5 Million
IMDb calls her “feisty, kinetic, highly offbeat”. In the 90s she hooked up with Keanu Reeves in Point Break. And Lori Petty thought she had hit it big when she was cast as Geena Davis’ sister in mega-hit A League of Their Own, in 1992. But her kooky, tomboy persona kept getting in the way. And when the roles dried up she took to directing and cast newbie Jennifer Lawrence in The Poker House, her first role. She rightly predicted JLaw would be a star, saying she had no fear of the camera. On Orange is the New Black, she plays Lolly, a character who has a way more than a spot of paranoia and maybe a touch of schizophrenia. She hears things. Lolly is occasionally lucid and very nice. But you never know when she’s going to be nutso and when she will be sane. That’s part of the fun. And Petty is laughing all the way to the bank.
6. Kate Mulgrew – $5 Million
After decades in movies and TV, Kate Mulgrew is a multi-millionaire. She was Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager, and now she is the nasty, nasty Red Reznikov on OITNB. She’s in charge of the prison kitchen and after newbie Piper Chapman lets drop that the food is lousy, Red takes against her in a big way and, literally, tries to starve her. Seems she has a bad history with yuppies like Piper, having landed in prison after an assault on a yuppie woman who made fun of her. According to intouchweekly.com, Kate is the most “disliked” cast member because she demands retakes, argues with the writers, and criticizes her co-stars’ acting. She seems to think she is the star of the show and everyone else is just scenery. Look, it’s not OITNB, it’s “The Kate Mugrew Show”. Not a recipe for Miss Congeniality, we’d say.
5. Andrew McCarthy – $7 Million
His millions have been earned over a career of nearly thirty years in film, TV and theater. His boy next door looks landed him sincere and nice leading man roles in the 1980s. Andrew McCarthy had big roles in St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink and Less Than Zero. And if his acting gigs and directing episodes of Orange is the New Black are not enough, he is big into travel writing and an Editor at Large at National Geographic Traveler magazine. Recently in Ethiopia, the travel writer had a nasty encounter with a guard at a church he wanted to visit and found himself with a real, loaded gun in his back. Apparently, it was a temporary misunderstanding and ended relatively well. That was not true when he was fired from Law & Order: Criminal Intent because of bust-ups with fellow actor, Vincent D’Onofrio.
4. Laura Prepon – $12 Million
Apparently she was all over her main man, 2016’s runaway blockbuster hit Warcraft actor Ben Foster, over the 4th of July weekend. But on the show, Laura Prepon is the former lover of Piper Chapman, an international drug dealer, and (Piper thinks) the reason she landed in Litchfield. Trust us, there are some bad vibes between those two. That kissing scene showing Alex Vause and Piper Chapman is a flashback scene at the very beginning of the first show. Starring as Donna Pinciotti on That 70’s Show and as Cathy in 2016’s Girl on the Train, helped Prepon amass her millions. At 5 feet 10 inches, many of her scenes with 5’3″ Milas Kunis, were filmed sitting down so the differences in their heights would not be so obvious.
3. Mary Steenburgen – $12 Million
She joined Orange is the New Black in its third season. Okay, stay with us, as this gets complicated. Daya Diaz was meeting prison officer Bennett for sex in a closet. But she gets pregnant and doesn’t want to land him in it, so she seduces nasty guard Mendez, and tries to fit him up for r*pe. Enter Delia Mendez played by Mary Steenburgen. She wants to adopt the baby she thinks is her son’s child. We’ll leave it there. Everyone was excited when Steenburgen joined the cast. She and her hubby Ted Danson, are a well-liked and a super talented pair. And their years in movies and TV have seen the couple amass a joint net worth of some $72 million. So Steenburgen, who is a real-life nice lady is playing the very nice mom of nasty Mendez.
2. Jason Biggs – $13 Million
Jason Biggs plays Larry Bloom, the totally nice and incredibly yuppie fiance of Piper Chapman. Jason Biggs got started on his millions early in life, appearing in national commercials at the tender age of five. He’s been pretty busy ever since. He’s been so prolific in his career that he jokes that people are probably getting sick of seeing him so much. Like Larry, Jason spares no effort in supporting his women. When his wife Jenny Mollen, published her book I Like You Just the Way I Am, he posted a naked picture of himself on Twitter to promote the book. We’re betting that sales spiked big time in the wake of that effort.
1. Jenji Kohen – $15 Million
Jenji Kohen is a funny, in your face kind of lady. And colorful too. When OITNB creator and producer first met Piper Kerman to discuss making a show out of her 2010 memoir, she asked so many questions about her experience in prison that Kerman was flattered and the deal was soon to be sealed. She’s also the talented creative force behind TV show Weeds. The 40-something has said that fame is not her thing, that she just wanted to sit in a room and type. But it’s obvious that the flamboyant Kohen is a natural celebrity. She has also said that in her head, she’s a rapper. But she is so totally not. OITNB has been called a “dramedy” because of its mix of comedy and drama. Life, Kohen says, is totally like that. You use humor to cope with real life drama. Having $15 million also probably helps in her case.